What Is Wrong With Me?

Fiction - Literary
326 Pages
Reviewed on 03/13/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

What Is Wrong With Me? by Kristin Hammoud tells the story of a young woman who learns to confront her own life choices. This remarkable story begins with Anna Ward’s early memories. It shows why Anna, at only nine years old, wishes that her parents would get a divorce. It also shows how Anna’s adolescence turns out to be even more traumatic than her childhood. At sixteen years old, Anna goes through one of the most horrible events of her life that make her want nothing more than to get away from her home and dysfunctional family. Yet, everywhere Anna goes, she constantly feels there is something wrong with her. She just can't figure out why she reacts the way she does to everything good or bad that happens to her.

What Is Wrong With Me? by Kristin Hammoud is the most practical and thought-provoking book on trauma and narcissistic love patterns I've ever read. This story taught me more about abusive relationships, dysfunctional family patterns, and the importance of therapy than any nonfiction book did. It's poignant and extremely informative from the start. It offers a rough and realistic portrait of dysfunctional families and wretched personal lives. Many young girls and adult women will relate to Anna's story. It teaches young girls how to always make sure their voices are heard and use them to communicate their thoughts and feelings. Every victim of abuse, including men, can learn from reading this. It will help you break free from the cycle of trauma, abuse, destructive relationships, seeking validation and approval from others, and being a hostage to past experiences and painful emotions.

Susan van der Walt

In What is Wrong with Me? Kristin Hammoud introduces us to Anna, who grows up with an absent father who is more at work than home. She regards him as being too critical and feels that she is not good enough and can never make him happy. Anna can't understand why her mother accepts her father's continued absence and never stands up for herself, especially with having no say in significant decisions. Unlike her brother, Anna feels sorry for her mother and doesn't want to leave her alone, even though she looks forward to attending college and getting away from home.

The reader will identify with Anna and her often mundane life. We gain insight into her inner turmoil through her thoughts and diary entries. Due to this internal conflict, Anna constantly asks herself whether she is at fault. The story highlights the way children often repeat the mistakes of their parents. Somehow you become blind to all the faults in your life partner, which you see so vividly in your parents' relationship. I experienced a great sense of frustration while reading What is Wrong with Me? by Kristin Hammoud because I could see that Anna was heading for the same outcome in her marriage as her mother. Driven by her desire for love and acceptance, she ignored all the warning signs and continued her relationship with Dave. The conflict between these warnings and Anna's inner turmoil drives the plot, fueling the reader's hope that Anna will end her dysfunctional relationship before it is too late. The advice Anna receives from those who care about her is also valuable for readers to apply in their relationships.

Grace Ruhara

What Is Wrong With Me? by Kristin Hammoud is a story about Anna, a victim of emotional abuse. While growing up, Anna constantly seeks her father's love and approval but never receives any. This makes them distant, and she always feels frightened whenever her father, Dan, is around. She wishes her mother, Kathy, would divorce him and let him go since she is always tired, depressed, and in her own world. To Anna, her dad is the best example of a future husband not to marry. When she goes to college, she meets Jeff, her first boyfriend, but breaks up with him since he is too nice. Later on, she gets into a relationship with Dave, and, despite being warned by friends and family to look at the red flags, decides to ignore them and gets married to him. She later discovers that Dave is a manipulative, selfish, and controlling man, like his father. She is heartbroken but has only two choices, to stay and let Sara, her daughter, go through the emotional abuse she went through, or leave and raise her daughter with the love she always wished for. What is it going to be?

What Is Wrong With Me? by Kristin Hammoud is not only an entertaining story but also a self-help book that I recommend to those going through any kind of abuse. It will help you learn ways to overcome it. The well-developed characters seem real and relatable and go through real-life challenges. Each character has a voice and a believable personality, which has made it possible to bring out the theme of emotional abuse by knowing its stages and ways to overcome it. Hammoud has also developed the plot using excellent journals and dialogues that help advance the storyline. Her steady pace helps you get to know each character, learn about their past, and understand their present ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

Rabia Tanveer

What Is Wrong with Me? by Kristin Hammoud is the story of survival and second chances. Anna is never sure of what is wrong with her life. Growing up in an abusive household with an abusive father did a number on her mental health, and Anna has no idea how to shake it all off. No matter how hard she tries, she is unable to find good people and is stuck in the same circle of abuse that keeps happening over and over again. It is a vicious cycle that follows Anna through her childhood, adulthood, and relationships in life. Is happiness not on the cards for Anna? Or is there something wrong with Anna?

Kristin Hammoud is right in calling it a fictional tale with a self-help twist because it certainly is. Trauma has the power to destroy lives if it isn’t treated right. Anna’s story is heartbreaking yet encouraging at the same time. So many people will connect with her, find little pieces of themselves, and heal along with Anna. There is some triggering content so fair warning, this is an adult-only story. The plot gets emotional very quickly, and breaks are recommended; I know I did. Anna is terrifyingly innocent, and isn’t it the case with most survivors? I don’t know how Kristin did it but she explains the effects, the struggles, and the journey ahead so beautifully and accurately! What is Wrong with Me? is a story that will make you emotional but teach you some valuable lessons too. You will learn to fight back, accept and move on. We all need Luke and Alia in our lives, we also need the support of people like Kathy, and we need a person like Sara to love us unconditionally. This novel is a catharsis we all need.

K.C. Finn

What Is Wrong With Me? is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, literary, and psychological fiction subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to themes of abuse and trauma as well as strong references to sexual situations. Penned by author Kristin Hammoud, this harrowing and highly emotive drama follows the life of Anna, a victim of a deeply troubled childhood. As Anna’s darkest memories continue to haunt and influence the path of her adult life, we explore the nature of why we sometimes allow ourselves to end up in harmful situations and how we can break the mechanisms that stop us from changing so that we can be free.

Author Kristin Hammoud offers a literary drama that also has a deeper meaning in terms of mental health, trauma recovery, and self-help. So many tales of this nature sensationalize the troubled childhood aspect, but Hammoud’s fiction is so poignant and sensitive in its portrayal that I found Anna’s experiences just as heart-breaking to read about as a real-life memoir, and that made me all the more invested in her journey toward healing and a better life. The adult content and handling of sexual situations, abuse, and emotional triggers are well-penned, too, offering some tough material in an accessible format that allows readers a deep insight without overdosing on the pain and agony of it all. There’s a resonant theme of strength, perseverance, and hope that ends the novel, making What Is Wrong With Me? a highly recommended read for fans of realistic and emotive drama everywhere.